Gut Health

The NIHR Imperial BRC Gut Health Theme exploits entirely novel areas of experimental gastroenterology. Imbalances in the gut microbiome contribute to a number of pathologies, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), pouchitis, obesity and allergies. Building upon exciting new advances in microbial signalling and functionality, this Theme operates in close partnership with the NIHR Imperial BRC’s Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) to integrate and model multi-omic data for patient stratification, as well as identify novel therapeutic interventions through harnessing the power of the microbiome in patients with inflammatory diseases of the gut. Our current areas of research are summarised below.

Metabolic and microbial characterisation of IBD

As current therapeutic approaches in treatment of IBD are ineffective in approximately 30% of cases, our in-depth analysis of the microbiome and the metabolome of IBD patients aims to identify actionable biomarkers for improved clinical management of the disease. We are combining expertise in both metabolic phenotyping of biofluids and next generation sequencing of stool samples to establish the composition and functional capacity of the microbiome in IBD.

Microbiome-driven patient stratification for cancer risk prediction

The risk of developing colon cancer is increased in IBD patients, and we are retrospectively analysing IBD biopsies and peripheral biofluids available in our tissue biobanks using a range of new surgical and analytical technologies, to establish bacterial or metabolic markers of susceptibility to colorectal cancer. This will allow better stratification of patients at risk, and will establish microbially-driven inflammatory cascades involved in GI disease and oncogenesis.

Nutritional strategies for management of IBD

Environment, lifestyle, diet and genetic factors play a key role in the increased prevalence of IBD. We are in process of broadly investigating the impact of dietary interventions on IBD expression and management. Improvement in nutritional support for IBD patients taking into account diet-microbiome interactions has the potential to beneficially mediate disease progression.

Extreme IBD phenotypes

We currently have access to large clinical cohorts of well-phenotyped patients, capturing cases that manifest particularly aggressive disease paths, where treatments are of varying efficacy and cost. We aim to enrol and follow 200 patients with IBD, using a combination of traditional metrics of disease and the metabolic and microbial phenotyping resources available through the Clinical Phenome Centre (cross cutting Molecular Phenomics theme), in order to address the role of the microbiome and its metabolic influences in IBD treatment.

Key Individuals
  • Professor Elaine Holmes
    Professor Elaine Holmes
    Theme Lead, Gut Health
  • Professor Jeremy Nicholson
    Professor Jeremy Nicholson
    Theme Lead, Molecular Phenomics
  • Professor Mark Thursz
    Professor Mark Thursz
    Professor of Hepatology
  • Dr Alexander von Roon
    Dr Alexander von Roon
    Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
  • Dr Benjamin Mullish
    Dr Benjamin Mullish
    Clinical Research Fellow
  • Dr David MacIntyre
    Dr David MacIntyre
    MRC-CDA Fellow & Lecturer in Reproductive Systems Medicine
  • Dr Horace Williams
    Dr Horace Williams
    Consultant Gastroenterologist
  • Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez
    Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez
    Lecturer in Precision & Systems Medicine
  • Dr James Maurice
    Dr James Maurice
    Clinical Research Fellow
  • Dr Jia Li
    Dr Jia Li
    Lecturer in Human Development and Microbial Signalling
  • Dr Jonathan Hoare
    Dr Jonathan Hoare
    Consultant Gastroenterologist
  • Dr Jonathan Swann
    Dr Jonathan Swann
    Senior Lecturer in Microbiomics and Human Development
  • Dr Julian Marchesi
    Dr Julian Marchesi
    Reader in Digestive Health
  • Dr Kevin Murphy
    Dr Kevin Murphy
    Reader in Endocrinology
  • Dr Lesley Hoyles
    Dr Lesley Hoyles
    MRC Intermediate Fellow in Data Science
  • Dr Marc-Emmanuel Dumas
    Dr Marc-Emmanuel Dumas
    Reader in Translational Systems Medicine
  • Dr Nikihl Vergis
    Dr Nikihl Vergis
    Clinical Research Fellow
  • Dr Sarah Butcher
    Dr Sarah Butcher
    Head of Bioinformatics Support Service
  • Dr. Joram Posma
    Dr. Joram Posma
    Research Associate
  • Professor Ailsa Hart
    Professor Ailsa Hart
    Consultant Gastroenterologist
  • Professor Gary Frost
    Professor Gary Frost
    Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Professor Huw Thomas
    Professor Huw Thomas
  • Professor Paris Tekkis
    Professor Paris Tekkis
    Professor of Colorectal Surgery
  • Professor Robert Glen
    Professor Robert Glen
    Chair in Computational Medicine
  • Professor Timothy Orchard
    Professor Timothy Orchard
    Professor of Gastroenterology
  • Professor Zoltan Takats
    Professor Zoltan Takats
    Professor of Analytical Chemistry
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